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From FS1 to The Podium
Laura Hampton, Chimera
Hi!
Formation skydiving
fɔːˈmeɪʃ(ə)n/ ˈskʌɪdʌɪvɪŋ/
Noun: formation skydiving
The act of creating beautiful sky patterns like a total badass
“She’s a formation skydiving medallist and therefore I should buy her as many
jagerbombs as she’d like”
Big-way Massive-way 4-way
Big-way Massive-way
Look out for Emily,
J-Lo and Matt
Cumming’s webinar
on Bigway
Beginners!
4-way
What to expect...
1. The FS1 programme
2. Jumping in groups - getting started
3. The basics of 4 way
4. Understanding competitive FS
5. Top tips for successful team
6. Open Q&A
The FS1 Programme
The FS1 Programme
● For those qualified either through RAPS or AFF, this is usually
the first sticker you’ll seek to achieve
● FS1 proves, above all else, your ability to fly safely with others
and is therefore an imperative skill for your entire skydiving
career
The FS1 Programme
● You jump with a coach
● While there is a handbook, coaches can be
flexible
● Aim is to learn all skills appropriate to a) save
yourself from bad situations and b) make
beautiful shapes
The FS1 Programme
1. Find a coach; Skydive Langar has plenty, plus
hosts Progression Weekends, promoted via their
Facebook page - other DZs also have coaches for
you
2. Approach a coach early in the day; this gives
them time to brief you
3. Try to stick with the same coach or ensure your
coach makes notes in your log book
FS1 Levels
● Typically you’ll learn about plan B situations
including:
○ Fast/slow fall
○ Forward/backwards
○ Side sliding
● And plan A situations including:
○ 90, 180 and 360 degree turns
○ Grip taking
○ Swoop to pin
● Usually concludes with 3 way and 4 way jump
Jumping in Groups
FS1 = Sky God Total Noob
● Take the time to consolidate; jump in small groups to
get used to what it’s like - it’ll be different with a friend
at similar experience to a coach with years of
experience
● Seek to be the ‘worst one on the jump’; don’t be a
crap skydiver, but be willing to be the least
experienced - this is where you learn the most
● Treat it like driving; you’ve passed your test, but
you’re not Lewis Hamilton yet
Safety First
● Be conscious of your group choices
○ Jump with people who you feel safe to jump with
○ Keep groups small to start with
● Become a tracking ninja
○ Not TR1 necessarily, just be really good at tracking away from
groups
○ This can be practiced on your own, too
● Be canopy aware
○ Know your equipment
○ You’re going to be sharing the sky
Find opportunities to learn
● Bigway Beginners and similar events teach you the
basics
● Walk up load organising is open to anyone with FS1
who wants to come and learn
● Read up on it! Articles in The Mag etc can be really
helpful
● Speak to people; we’re so fortunate to have access to
amazing skydivers - ask them about their experience
The Basics of 4 Way
The Aim
● Build the correct formations (shapes)
● In the correct order
● As many times as possible in 35 seconds
Slots
● In 4 way, there are 5 ‘positions’
● Like most sports, the different positions all fulfil
slightly different roles, working together to a common
goal
● Usually, your position (slot) dictates your position in
the door on exit, as well as the types of moves you’re
likely to do and who you’re most likely to do them with
Centres
● Two people occupy what we call the ‘centre’ of the
formation; this means they are most likely to be in the
middle of formations
● The centres also typically set the fall rate; imagine the
whole team is just one person, where the middle
people are the ‘arch’ point
Inside Centre
● Inside Centre (IC) is responsible (usually) for pacing the
skydive
● This means they decide when everyone should move on
to the next formation
● They also (often) do ‘the key’ in the aircraft door, which
means they decide when the team leaves the plane
● Their moves are often smaller, but have to be very precise
to allow others to build off them
Outside Centre
● Outside Centre (OC) is usually responsible for the bigger
moves in that they are often moving from ‘in-facing’ to
‘out-facing’
● They rely on the inside centre to be a stable point to
build off, and also work with the IC to set the fall rate
● They are usually on the outside of the aircraft for the exit,
closest to the front of the door
Outsides
● Two people occupy what we (basically never) call the
‘outside’ of the formation; this means they are most
likely to be on the outer parts of a formation
● The outsides typically fall at the same of a marginally
slower rate than the centres to allow them to see over
the top of the formation and ‘reference’ each other
● They also set the ‘axis’ of most formations, which
helps keep the team from moving inefficiently around
the sky
Point
● The Point flyer is most likely to be out-facing in a
formation
● They are also most likely to be performing moves as
‘the solo’ in a block
● Often, the Point flyer is physically the smallest in a
team, likely because of their position in the aircraft
door, but this does not have to be the case
Tail
● The Tail flyer is most likely to be at the back of the
formation and is usually in-facing
● They typically have some big moves which require
them to plan their route carefully and for the rest of
the team to go where expected
● Often, the Tail flyer is physically the tallest of the
team, likely because of the position they occupy in the
door, but this does not need to be the case
Front Piece
● The Front Piece of the formation refers to the Point
and Outside Centre
● Being a ‘piece’ means that, in ‘block’ moves that split
the team into 2, the P and OC will be in one pair
● The Front Piece is most likely to ‘slot switch’, meaning,
because of some formations, they will swap positions
with each other - meaning the person who is normally
P will be OC in their ‘B slot’ and vice versa
Back Piece
● The Back Piece of the formation refers to the Tail and
Inside Centre
● Being a ‘piece’ means that, in ‘block’ moves that split
the team into 2, the T and IC will be in one pair
● The Back Piece is less likely to slot switch, but it does
still happen - so T will become IC and vice versa
Camera Flyer
● You need a camera flyer to be able to compete in 4 way; it is
their job to capture the 4 people on video and to submit that
video to the judges
● The best camera flyers will have a knowledge of 4 way
formations and be able to understand how each one works, so
they can ensure they are in a position to capture each shape
● They will also understand the needs of the judges and be
sensitive to those, such as keeping the team central to the
frame and close enough to see
The Formations
Randoms
● Static shapes
● In theory, there are 16 basic shapes
● In reality, each shape can be mirrored and slots can
be switched
Randoms
● Most randoms can be split into the following
categories:
○ One person centre
○ Two person centre
○ Round
● This knowledge can be really helpful when it comes to
planning your dive ‘engineering’
Blocks
● Include a beginning, an ‘inter’ and an end
● Requires the team to perform a move through the
block:
○ Two pairs
○ One solo
○ Two solos
○ Four solos
Blocks
● Some blocks lead to ‘slot switches’
● There are 22 blocks, in theory
● In reality, blocks can be mirrored and slots changed
● The key to success in blocks is to break them down
into ‘pictures’; this helps you know what to expect as
you progress through the move and to ensure you’re
going to end up in the right place
Engineering
● The idea of ‘engineering’ a dive is that you want to
find the best way to move between the different
formations
● This means finding the most efficient move for
everyone
● It also requires you to consider things like momentum,
familiarity and competitive advantage
Flying Together
● The key to success in 4 way FS is recognising there
are no heroes; you all need to fly together
● Recognising the different slots and their role is
important; allocate team members according to their
skill sets
● Make sure everyone is working to the same goal;
there’s no value in being the fastest individual
because you can’t do 4 way on your own
Competing in 4 Way FS
How It Works
● There are usually 10 rounds (6 rounds in smaller
competitions)
● The ‘draw’ is done prior to the competition starting;
this is where the formations and the order for them to
be completed in is decided
● The aim is to complete the set dives for each round in
the right order and as many times as possible within
35 seconds ‘working time’
Categories
● There are four categories in 4 way FS competitions:
○ Rookie
○ A
○ AA
○ AAA
● The categories dictate how many formations are in a
‘page’ of a dive
● Blocks count as 2 formations (beginning formation
and end formation)
Judging
● FS judges are incredibly skilled people who know the
formations (all variants of them) and are able to judge whether
or not you’ve built the correct formation and to therefore
count how many ‘points’ you score
● Judges are also responsible for noting the ‘busts’; this is where
you fail to complete the correct formation or do an incorrect
move
● It is the team’s responsibility to show the judges the formations
- it’s not the judge’s responsibility to see them
Your Coach
● A coach is an essential part of your progression plan
● You can pay for coaches, or take advantage of British
Skydiving roadshows to gain free coaching
● Also look out for experienced FS flyers around the drop
zone (like us!) who will be more than happy to help you
● Keep notes and always consider what you’re learning
Setting a Training Plan
● Set your budget first; how much does each person
want to spend? Need to agree this in advance
● Share a calendar of availability; spreadsheets or
Google calendar etc
● Find a coach and compare their availability to
yours
● Contact drop zones to confirm their availability,
too
What to expect on a training camp
● Depends on what you want to get out of it, and your
experience level
● At higher levels, you’ll typically want to do back-to-
back skydives and anything between 12 and 16 jumps
in a day (again depending on your team, energy,
conditions etc)
● Whatever level you’re at, be sympathetic to one
another’s energy levels and consider how much you’re
learning jumping vs taking time to rest
Organised Chaos...
● Depending on how seriously you’re taking it, you’ll
need to be super organised to make your dates
and plans work
● You’ll also need to be able to adapt; sometimes,
things can get in the way of plan A and you’ll need
plan B, plan C, plan D…
● Know that you can only do what you can do; if
other teams can do more, fine, but think about
how to optimise your time, not about them
Competitions
● Remember to include the competitions you plan
to enter in your calendar!
○ Nationals
○ UKSL meets
○ Indoor competitions
● Competition experience is really valuable, if you
can get it
The Stuff No One Tells You...
It’s not just about skydiving
● The biggest thing we’ve learned over the years is
that being in a successful skydiving team doesn’t
just mean being an awesome flyer
● You need to be a good team player, to empathise
with your teammates and to be comfortable with
working toward a common goal
● You need to be good friends to each other, too
Get to Know Each Other
● Find out everyone learns; accept and make
allowances for each others’ learning styles
● Learn what stress looks like for each person and
how they respond, and how they’d like you to
respond
● Be good friends; know what they enjoy, what
makes them feel happy - they’re not your 4 way
tool, they’re a real life human being!
Get Aroused...
● Sports psychology tells us that arousal is a key
part of performance
● Practically speaking, that means you need to
know not only what gets your adrenaline
pumping, but what that looks like for you and
where your best performance comes from
● Try to get to know this as a team and consider
techniques to mediate your arousal levels
It’s not just falling...
● Skydiving is a sport and it requires good fitness levels
● On a busy training camp, you might be running back
from a lift (safely!), grabbing your next kit, running to
the plane (safely!) and doing that again and again and
again…
● The fitter you are, the more able you are to fly efficiently
and effectively; consider flexibility and strength as well
as cardio
Visualising can be powerful
● In the UK especially, we’re sometimes hit by
circumstances that mean we can’t train, such as
weather holds
● There’s a lot you can learn from ‘visualising’, which
means imagining the dive in your mind, picturing your
move and considering how that would look from your
POV and/or from the camera POV
● Also look out for opportunities to learn on creepers,
and to watch videos of other teams
What we’ve talked about...
1. The FS1 programme
2. Jumping in groups - getting started
3. The basics of 4 way
4. Understanding competitive FS
5. Top tips for successful team
Open Q&A

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From FS1 to The Podium

  • 1. From FS1 to The Podium Laura Hampton, Chimera
  • 2. Hi!
  • 3. Formation skydiving fɔːˈmeɪʃ(ə)n/ ˈskʌɪdʌɪvɪŋ/ Noun: formation skydiving The act of creating beautiful sky patterns like a total badass “She’s a formation skydiving medallist and therefore I should buy her as many jagerbombs as she’d like”
  • 5. Big-way Massive-way Look out for Emily, J-Lo and Matt Cumming’s webinar on Bigway Beginners!
  • 7. What to expect... 1. The FS1 programme 2. Jumping in groups - getting started 3. The basics of 4 way 4. Understanding competitive FS 5. Top tips for successful team 6. Open Q&A
  • 9. The FS1 Programme ● For those qualified either through RAPS or AFF, this is usually the first sticker you’ll seek to achieve ● FS1 proves, above all else, your ability to fly safely with others and is therefore an imperative skill for your entire skydiving career
  • 10. The FS1 Programme ● You jump with a coach ● While there is a handbook, coaches can be flexible ● Aim is to learn all skills appropriate to a) save yourself from bad situations and b) make beautiful shapes
  • 11. The FS1 Programme 1. Find a coach; Skydive Langar has plenty, plus hosts Progression Weekends, promoted via their Facebook page - other DZs also have coaches for you 2. Approach a coach early in the day; this gives them time to brief you 3. Try to stick with the same coach or ensure your coach makes notes in your log book
  • 12. FS1 Levels ● Typically you’ll learn about plan B situations including: ○ Fast/slow fall ○ Forward/backwards ○ Side sliding ● And plan A situations including: ○ 90, 180 and 360 degree turns ○ Grip taking ○ Swoop to pin ● Usually concludes with 3 way and 4 way jump
  • 14. FS1 = Sky God Total Noob ● Take the time to consolidate; jump in small groups to get used to what it’s like - it’ll be different with a friend at similar experience to a coach with years of experience ● Seek to be the ‘worst one on the jump’; don’t be a crap skydiver, but be willing to be the least experienced - this is where you learn the most ● Treat it like driving; you’ve passed your test, but you’re not Lewis Hamilton yet
  • 15. Safety First ● Be conscious of your group choices ○ Jump with people who you feel safe to jump with ○ Keep groups small to start with ● Become a tracking ninja ○ Not TR1 necessarily, just be really good at tracking away from groups ○ This can be practiced on your own, too ● Be canopy aware ○ Know your equipment ○ You’re going to be sharing the sky
  • 16. Find opportunities to learn ● Bigway Beginners and similar events teach you the basics ● Walk up load organising is open to anyone with FS1 who wants to come and learn ● Read up on it! Articles in The Mag etc can be really helpful ● Speak to people; we’re so fortunate to have access to amazing skydivers - ask them about their experience
  • 17. The Basics of 4 Way
  • 18. The Aim ● Build the correct formations (shapes) ● In the correct order ● As many times as possible in 35 seconds
  • 19. Slots ● In 4 way, there are 5 ‘positions’ ● Like most sports, the different positions all fulfil slightly different roles, working together to a common goal ● Usually, your position (slot) dictates your position in the door on exit, as well as the types of moves you’re likely to do and who you’re most likely to do them with
  • 20. Centres ● Two people occupy what we call the ‘centre’ of the formation; this means they are most likely to be in the middle of formations ● The centres also typically set the fall rate; imagine the whole team is just one person, where the middle people are the ‘arch’ point
  • 21. Inside Centre ● Inside Centre (IC) is responsible (usually) for pacing the skydive ● This means they decide when everyone should move on to the next formation ● They also (often) do ‘the key’ in the aircraft door, which means they decide when the team leaves the plane ● Their moves are often smaller, but have to be very precise to allow others to build off them
  • 22. Outside Centre ● Outside Centre (OC) is usually responsible for the bigger moves in that they are often moving from ‘in-facing’ to ‘out-facing’ ● They rely on the inside centre to be a stable point to build off, and also work with the IC to set the fall rate ● They are usually on the outside of the aircraft for the exit, closest to the front of the door
  • 23. Outsides ● Two people occupy what we (basically never) call the ‘outside’ of the formation; this means they are most likely to be on the outer parts of a formation ● The outsides typically fall at the same of a marginally slower rate than the centres to allow them to see over the top of the formation and ‘reference’ each other ● They also set the ‘axis’ of most formations, which helps keep the team from moving inefficiently around the sky
  • 24. Point ● The Point flyer is most likely to be out-facing in a formation ● They are also most likely to be performing moves as ‘the solo’ in a block ● Often, the Point flyer is physically the smallest in a team, likely because of their position in the aircraft door, but this does not have to be the case
  • 25. Tail ● The Tail flyer is most likely to be at the back of the formation and is usually in-facing ● They typically have some big moves which require them to plan their route carefully and for the rest of the team to go where expected ● Often, the Tail flyer is physically the tallest of the team, likely because of the position they occupy in the door, but this does not need to be the case
  • 26. Front Piece ● The Front Piece of the formation refers to the Point and Outside Centre ● Being a ‘piece’ means that, in ‘block’ moves that split the team into 2, the P and OC will be in one pair ● The Front Piece is most likely to ‘slot switch’, meaning, because of some formations, they will swap positions with each other - meaning the person who is normally P will be OC in their ‘B slot’ and vice versa
  • 27. Back Piece ● The Back Piece of the formation refers to the Tail and Inside Centre ● Being a ‘piece’ means that, in ‘block’ moves that split the team into 2, the T and IC will be in one pair ● The Back Piece is less likely to slot switch, but it does still happen - so T will become IC and vice versa
  • 28. Camera Flyer ● You need a camera flyer to be able to compete in 4 way; it is their job to capture the 4 people on video and to submit that video to the judges ● The best camera flyers will have a knowledge of 4 way formations and be able to understand how each one works, so they can ensure they are in a position to capture each shape ● They will also understand the needs of the judges and be sensitive to those, such as keeping the team central to the frame and close enough to see
  • 30. Randoms ● Static shapes ● In theory, there are 16 basic shapes ● In reality, each shape can be mirrored and slots can be switched
  • 31. Randoms ● Most randoms can be split into the following categories: ○ One person centre ○ Two person centre ○ Round ● This knowledge can be really helpful when it comes to planning your dive ‘engineering’
  • 32. Blocks ● Include a beginning, an ‘inter’ and an end ● Requires the team to perform a move through the block: ○ Two pairs ○ One solo ○ Two solos ○ Four solos
  • 33. Blocks ● Some blocks lead to ‘slot switches’ ● There are 22 blocks, in theory ● In reality, blocks can be mirrored and slots changed ● The key to success in blocks is to break them down into ‘pictures’; this helps you know what to expect as you progress through the move and to ensure you’re going to end up in the right place
  • 34. Engineering ● The idea of ‘engineering’ a dive is that you want to find the best way to move between the different formations ● This means finding the most efficient move for everyone ● It also requires you to consider things like momentum, familiarity and competitive advantage
  • 35. Flying Together ● The key to success in 4 way FS is recognising there are no heroes; you all need to fly together ● Recognising the different slots and their role is important; allocate team members according to their skill sets ● Make sure everyone is working to the same goal; there’s no value in being the fastest individual because you can’t do 4 way on your own
  • 36. Competing in 4 Way FS
  • 37. How It Works ● There are usually 10 rounds (6 rounds in smaller competitions) ● The ‘draw’ is done prior to the competition starting; this is where the formations and the order for them to be completed in is decided ● The aim is to complete the set dives for each round in the right order and as many times as possible within 35 seconds ‘working time’
  • 38. Categories ● There are four categories in 4 way FS competitions: ○ Rookie ○ A ○ AA ○ AAA ● The categories dictate how many formations are in a ‘page’ of a dive ● Blocks count as 2 formations (beginning formation and end formation)
  • 39. Judging ● FS judges are incredibly skilled people who know the formations (all variants of them) and are able to judge whether or not you’ve built the correct formation and to therefore count how many ‘points’ you score ● Judges are also responsible for noting the ‘busts’; this is where you fail to complete the correct formation or do an incorrect move ● It is the team’s responsibility to show the judges the formations - it’s not the judge’s responsibility to see them
  • 40. Your Coach ● A coach is an essential part of your progression plan ● You can pay for coaches, or take advantage of British Skydiving roadshows to gain free coaching ● Also look out for experienced FS flyers around the drop zone (like us!) who will be more than happy to help you ● Keep notes and always consider what you’re learning
  • 41. Setting a Training Plan ● Set your budget first; how much does each person want to spend? Need to agree this in advance ● Share a calendar of availability; spreadsheets or Google calendar etc ● Find a coach and compare their availability to yours ● Contact drop zones to confirm their availability, too
  • 42. What to expect on a training camp ● Depends on what you want to get out of it, and your experience level ● At higher levels, you’ll typically want to do back-to- back skydives and anything between 12 and 16 jumps in a day (again depending on your team, energy, conditions etc) ● Whatever level you’re at, be sympathetic to one another’s energy levels and consider how much you’re learning jumping vs taking time to rest
  • 43. Organised Chaos... ● Depending on how seriously you’re taking it, you’ll need to be super organised to make your dates and plans work ● You’ll also need to be able to adapt; sometimes, things can get in the way of plan A and you’ll need plan B, plan C, plan D… ● Know that you can only do what you can do; if other teams can do more, fine, but think about how to optimise your time, not about them
  • 44. Competitions ● Remember to include the competitions you plan to enter in your calendar! ○ Nationals ○ UKSL meets ○ Indoor competitions ● Competition experience is really valuable, if you can get it
  • 45. The Stuff No One Tells You...
  • 46. It’s not just about skydiving ● The biggest thing we’ve learned over the years is that being in a successful skydiving team doesn’t just mean being an awesome flyer ● You need to be a good team player, to empathise with your teammates and to be comfortable with working toward a common goal ● You need to be good friends to each other, too
  • 47. Get to Know Each Other ● Find out everyone learns; accept and make allowances for each others’ learning styles ● Learn what stress looks like for each person and how they respond, and how they’d like you to respond ● Be good friends; know what they enjoy, what makes them feel happy - they’re not your 4 way tool, they’re a real life human being!
  • 48. Get Aroused... ● Sports psychology tells us that arousal is a key part of performance ● Practically speaking, that means you need to know not only what gets your adrenaline pumping, but what that looks like for you and where your best performance comes from ● Try to get to know this as a team and consider techniques to mediate your arousal levels
  • 49. It’s not just falling... ● Skydiving is a sport and it requires good fitness levels ● On a busy training camp, you might be running back from a lift (safely!), grabbing your next kit, running to the plane (safely!) and doing that again and again and again… ● The fitter you are, the more able you are to fly efficiently and effectively; consider flexibility and strength as well as cardio
  • 50. Visualising can be powerful ● In the UK especially, we’re sometimes hit by circumstances that mean we can’t train, such as weather holds ● There’s a lot you can learn from ‘visualising’, which means imagining the dive in your mind, picturing your move and considering how that would look from your POV and/or from the camera POV ● Also look out for opportunities to learn on creepers, and to watch videos of other teams
  • 51. What we’ve talked about... 1. The FS1 programme 2. Jumping in groups - getting started 3. The basics of 4 way 4. Understanding competitive FS 5. Top tips for successful team